I thought that it would be a great insight for you to see and read about how our customers have found using a GlastonBees Warre beehive. Therefore I have asked them, if they would very kindly contribute to this page. To share with us their experiences, interesting stories, snippets of advice, whatever they think maybe helpful to you and our future and aspiring bee-keepers.
All of the photographs on this page have been sent in by our customers, to help portray their experiences to you.
Our little colony is continuing to do what it is meant to – that is workers foraging on good days and putting the nectar in the comb cells seen through the window.
One thing that concerns us is that there is a fair number of drones around. There are quite a few flying around the hive, and in our beginners opinion, higher numbers than there should be around the comb. We regularly see 3 to 4 through the window. We do not feel that we have a drone laying queen, as she has produced a number of workers, but she seems to have produced a large number of drones. We have noticed that the size of a number of cells that the workers have made on the comb to be on the large size, especially around the edges.
The ladies arrived 7th June.
They are happy in their new home and have already filled the top box.
After speaking to you on the phone recently I bought a feeder which should fit the hole the bee breeder made in the cover in case I need one.
I only wish there was someone with Warre hive experience who lived near to me!
I check on them every day, though only open the observation windows once a week.
There were bees in the bottom box last weekend so hopefully they will soon begin to make more comb there.
I saw as I peered in from the back window, a row of guard bees just inside the hive entrance all attentive !
Just to let you know that the order arrived today, all in one piece thank you.
Hoping to get the time to wax the top bars tomorrow and put one of the boxes into a bait hive. The other will have to wait until next week when I process the first batch of honey ever.
Thanks again for the order,
I just thought I’d let you know that I moved the bees the other day, and as far as I can tell it was successful! They are in the Warre hive and seem to be busy going about their work. Which im very happy about!
The transfer from the bait hive was quite nerve racking for me, but I think the fact that the bees were very calm made me calm doing it. I had some help too. So the five top bars that I put in the bait hive already had lots of comb already on them, plus they were making two more sections of comb on the roof… I was surprised at how much they had done in a week… or is this normal? Once I moved the 5 top bars over I left the bait hive box with the remaining bees next to the entrance, and slowly most of them made their way in, apart from a small cluster that went back to the tree. In the end I had to brush them in the box and move them again. It was a few hours later and almost dark by the time they were all in.
We have now just obtained a swarm from another beekeeper who lives 2 miles away and they have taken up residence in the Warre.
We had a bit of a job to get them in the hive because we did the walking up the board method, but our bees walked up the board and then continued walking up the outside of the hive, completely ignoring the entrance. After about an hour they seemed content to swarm on the outside, so we brushed them into the skep again, opened the hive, removed the top bars, dumped them in, put the top bars back and closed the hive up.
There is lots of coming and going at the entrance, which we feel is good. They have now (10 days later) built some lovely white comb in the top box and are busily foraging throughout the garden and probably further afield as well.
On looking through the observation windows they are all bunched up and working in the top box and have not done anything in the bottom box yet. Is this normal or am I expecting too much too soon?
With best wishes
Our bees in Cumbria have overwintered, and there is activity in the hive (the windows are fantastic). Pollen is certainly being collected on dry days (probably hazel/willow and gorse/dandelion judging by the colour of the pollen). I am resisting opening up the hive as I think it may not yet be warm enough. Are there particular signs that you think indicate that there is a healthy active queen in the colony? I’ve no reason to think there isn’t, but I’m just curious to know. The book ‘At the Hive entrance’ suggests that condensation at the entrance first thing in the morning suggests brood, but I haven’t seen any condensation.
Hope things continue to go well for you this season.
Hi Ian. My Warre Hive came through the winter OK with two boxes filled solid and the third box about half full of comb, plus one empty box at the bottom. Last week the bees have been bringing in plenty of pollen, but this morning on my weekly visit I notice a lot of pollen like wax partials on the concrete base. Looking through the bottom window the floor is covered with wax partials, but not many bees, but this afternoon I noticed a lot of bees at the entrance. I did not take any honey from them last year, but my home made Warre I took 20lbs last year. The weather is sunny,with very cold winds.
I was stung the first time I visited the hives with J, behind my knee! I was instructed to suck on burdock root! Since then I have not been stung.
I have been observing and helping an experienced local beekeeper work with a range of hives. This includes Warre and National. In the late spring, we put a vial of lemongrass in the warre hive as bees supposedly like the scent and some bees did indeed nest inside the hive. That was pretty amazing especially seeing how much comb they produced in two weeks. The hive seemed really healthy and the honey was delicious. We have tried extracting and cut comb.
In July I went on a course on looking at pollen under the microscope with Sensible Beekeeping and was amazed to see the structures of pollen up close and personal. It is fascinating to see the different colours of flower pollens revealed in the comb. I hope to continue helping John and would like to set up my own Warre hive in the near future.
Many thanks for the helpful introduction to natural beekeeping. I found it gave me a greater awareness of how to manage a Warre hive which I appreciated. I now feel as though I have some idea of how to go about setting one up.
I opened up my full hive yesterday afternoon after we spoke, and they are certainly filling the frames I put in for wax honey. Exciting!
Thanks for all your help.
Good news – we have bees in the hive.
We collected a swarm from a garden on the other side of Cambridge yesterday. Went in the morning and knocked them into a box, which we left on the ground for the stragglers. But, after a couple of hours, they were back in the tree. Returned early afternoon, much more successful – got them all in the box this time, and they stayed there. Collected the box in the evening and got them into the hive at dusk. We did a ‘run in’ rather than just tipping them in the top. Very spectacular. About 10% stayed on the outside of the hive overnight, but now the day has warmed up, they have started to behave like bees. So, hopefully they will settle down, with no absconding.
We have taken more videos and pictures than you can imagine.
All the best,
Latest news is that one of my ladies took umbrage to me the other day and I received a sting just under my eye. I could understand it if I was doing something, but drinking tea and watching them didn’t warrant being blindsided! Face has swollen up nicely and one eye almost closed …
Needless to say, I’m not sending a photo of that!
Just to give you an update on the new residents in the hive I recently purchased from you.
They’ve taken to it remarkably well and the second photo shows the extent of the building after one week – hence the reason for three boxes already!
Many thanks once again and I expect to order another full hive ready for next years swarms.
How lovely to hear from you … and great timing as you were on my “list” to contact!
Think your idea of extending the website is brilliant and we would be more than happy to be involved.
I gave the Warre hive it’s final coat of Linseed/beeswax yesterday, not sure if I did anything untoward but it does take a while to dry and is a bit sticky to say the least (a tiny bit of honey in the beeswax maybe?!) however it does look very beautiful and a work of art in it’s own right.
The bees are extremely feisty (to say the least) this year, a mix of genes and OSR I suspect. Did a “Walk Away” artificial swarm (attached) at the beginning of the week so am hoping all is well when I check them out Monday. They both have a good super of honey on so fingers crossed. The hive in the other apiary I suspect is queenless or has a “no good” queen … have tried putting in eggs but they didn’t want to know. Actually put a sealed queen cell in two weeks ago in a last ditch attempt to put things right so will have to wait and see.
Hope all is good with you Ian and look forward to catching up with you again soon.
I haven’t got a lot to tell you yet as its not been 1 year yet. Bees are def in residence and seem ok to survive the very wet winter luckily we didn’t get snow!
No photos. We have a strap system on the hive at moment as when we had those horrific winds I got C to batter it down – I will get a photo!
Nothing much else really
Thanks for the email. At the moment your hive remains empty – nuc on order, just waiting for them to be ready for delivery.
The bees in my original hive (10 months in a Warre) are now occupying three boxes. However, I have had problems with condensation and have had to resort to cutting a chanel out of the mouse board. Still have condensation on the inspection windows and not sure what else I can do.
Once I have my next colony of bees established, I will be ordering another Warre hive to use as a spare or temporary accomodation for swarms. Order will be placed in the near future.
Nice to hear from you, yes I took my New Hive out last Thursday and set it all up now the bee`s are being to swarm, so must have been watching me from above!! I have a Apiary near where I work two days a week, so it is quite handy to keep an eye on things, Friday is my day of inspection, I have 3 Apiary Sites, and always start at the further one away and work back towards home.
The Apiary which has got one Warre which I made last year, and I have put my New Warre there as well, plus 2 Nationals, when I arrived at this site waiting for me was a nice swarm in a Apple tree, so I rushed home to get the swarm kit and then started to do the collection, I shook them into a skep then placed it on the ground with a piece of board on the ground, plus a sheet on top to make a level surface for the skep to sit on. Later on early evening I went back to wrap them up and carry them to my New Warre, but sods law they had gone. I looked around hoping to find them, but no sign of them, so I gave up, that is the second swarm that I have lost from that skep. Saturday afternoon I went back just to check there to greet me was that swarm again, but this time I had a Nuc box which smelt of honey, and also had a drawn out old frame, to cut a long story short they met there match this time. Now I run my bee`s up on board with a sheet on top a cloth into the hive, but they are not very keen in going in, because the entrance is small, some beekeepers say that I should remove some bars, and then tip them in at the top, what would you do? I gave them some syrup in a contact feeder which I made, it works quite well.
I found that one of my Warre Hive`s I made blew over in the wind, luck would have it I had it strapped together, my new one I have put an anchor pin into the ground each side of the paving slab which the Warre sits on. I wonder if the legs where made like the WBC hive stand would help to make the hive more stable? just a thought.
Yes I would like to help you with sending you some photo`s either by e-mail attach, or just photo`s by post for your website, I know that my beekeeper`s club want`s to come and look at the Warre`s in working mode next year , so that would be great. Yes I am more than pleased with my hive, and the wood shavings of cedar smells better than my after shave!! Hope to hear from you soo.